The UKIP leader gave a repulsive ‘explanation’ for the Labour antisemitism row on Peston

UKIP Leader Gerard Batten appears on Peston
Chris Jarvis

UKIP’s new leader added a repulsive contribution to the debate on antisemitism in the Labour Party. Speaking in an interview on Peston on Sunday, Gerard Batten claimed the row on antisemitism in Labour is happening because it relies on the votes of Muslims.

Huh?

On his show, Robert Peston asked Batton whether the language he has used about Muslim people is comparable to that which the Nazis used about Jews. He responded by criticising the “ideology” of Islam. And he picked up an earlier point from Peston on antisemitism, stating:

The reason you’ve got this degree of anti-semitism in the Labour Party, in my view, is because it very much depends upon Muslim voters in inner cities. And the Islamic religion is inherently anti-semitic.

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https://twitter.com/pestononsunday/status/990532549888753664

Disgusting

The claim faced extensive criticism on Twitter. One user branded UKIP and its leader “disgusting”:

Others argued the programme failed to challenge Batten on his views:

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time Batten has made questionable statements on Islam. He previously referred to the religion as a “death cult”.

In 2017, he made a controversial speech in the European parliament. In the speech, he typically attacked Islam. It concluded:

The more Muslims you have in a population, the more Islam you will get. And the more Islam you have, the more terrorism you will get.

A spokesperson for the anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate told The Guardian Batten is “an Islamophobe and conspiracy theorist”. They stated:

His extreme comments, while shocking, are not surprising. His obsessions with Islam go way beyond the pale and are both hugely offensive as well as potentially dangerous.

The strategy isn’t working

Since the EU referendum in 2016, UKIP has been in crisis. Gerard Batten is the party’s fourth leader in less than two years. The last leader, Henry Bolton was sacked by members over racist texts sent by his girlfriend.

A recent YouGov poll (pdf, p1) puts the party on just 3%. In the upcoming local elections, UKIP have reportedly only found candidates to stand in 12% of seats.

But with the latest UKIP leader holding controversial and ludicrous view like this, no wonder his party is falling into complete irrelevance.

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